'Green' residence coming to North Campus next school year

    The new environmentally themed residence announced by SEED earlier this week will be located at 2251 Sheridan Road, which currently holds the Transfer House, organizers said Friday.

    Coming next school year, the GREEN House (Group Residents for Environmental Engagement) will promote an environmentally aware lifestyle and include about 50 students, said SEED’s co-chair, Jesse Sleamaker, in an e-mail.

    “I think this is an idea whose time has come,” said Mark D’Arienzo, associate director of university housing, when the house was first announced.

    Sleamaker and the SEED’s prairie project and conservation chair, Jackie Beard, co-authored the proposal. Planners will have some freedom to alter the building next year, such as installing low-flow showerheads and fluorescent light bulbs, and using environmentally friendly cleaning products, in addition to individual efforts such as composting, Sleamaker said.

    If the project is renewed, its planners hope to find a facility for the 2009-’10 school year that can be customized to further limit its environmental impact.

    The new community will ask residents to contribute to sustainable living through service trips, education and lifestyle examination, Sleamaker said.

    Although the residential requirements are still being drafted, the pillars may include recommended enrollment in at least one environmental course or student seminar, participation in community-wide service activities that improve the surrounding environment, and resident-driven firesides, studies and projects open to all students.

    The design for the community was loosely based on other schools with similar and successful programs, including the University of Illinois, University of Maryland, University of California-Santa Cruz, Oberlin College, and the University of South Carolina, where more than one hundred students were waitlisted in fall 2005 to live in the 400-person “green” dorm.

    Faculty sponsor H. Paul Friesema of the Environmental Policy and Culture program and the students are now selecting a “small community of residents” for next year, Beard said, although the residence will be an option on housing forms for current and incoming students.

    The application requires students to examine their current impact on the environment and how it could be improved. Sleamaker said he hopes that the house will be half freshmen and half upperclassmen.

    Involvement in the community will also be available for a non-residential fee. Beard said that although the residence is not affiliated with any one group, she hopes the community will be “the hub of environmental activity on campus.”

    D’Arienzo added that he thinks dorm residents wouldn’t be allowed to participate in the Green Cup.

    He said, “You can’t have the amateurs competing with the professionals.”


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